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Wayne Burton comes home for concert at Empress Theatre

wayne burton

Wayne Burton will perform in concert at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15 at the Empress Theatre.

Wayne Burton returns to his home town Monday, Dec. 15 for a concert at the Empress Theatre.
A family physician, Burton has also released six albums, will perform his original music during the show, which gets under way at 7 p.m.
Frank McTighe, editor of The Macleod Gazette, caught up with Burton to discuss his career and the show at the Empress Theatre.

The Macleod Gazette: Who are your musical influences?
Wayne Burton: My mother Audrey Burton of course was my first musical influence. She taught us to love music and taught me piano lessons for a number of years. I have also been influenced by a number of other writers and performers including Canadian David Foster.

TMG: Is there someone from your Fort Macleod roots who inspired you to pursue music?
WB: My parents inspired me in a more general way to pursue my musical talents. Rick Bullock certainly fostered my interests during my high school band years at F.P. Walshe. My aunt Dawn Orr from Fort Macleod may have been the one that was most insistent that I should take things to the next level and actually record my music. I tend to take things and really run with them so I now have six fully produced albums and three have been re-released in Spanish. I’ve also released individual songs in Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and French.

TMG: Your albums feature inspirational music. Do you play other music, and how did this become your focus as a musician?
WB: Inspirational music seems to really hit home for me and a lot of my listeners. It just has a depth that a lot of other contemporary music doesn’t. I also write country music (and some pop), but don’t perform that music as an artist — it is targeted for other artists who are in the country and pop genres. My brother Allan Burton and I travel to Nashville twice a year to write with other songwriters there and to meet with publishers and record label executives. I just can’t bring myself to come out on stage wearing a cowboy hat and boots, it’s not my style.

TMG: How does being a doctor influence your music?
WB: I had to make a decision during my years at the University of Lethbridge. Pursue medicine or pursue music. I really felt I had a future and a contribution to make in both. I guess that’s a good problem to have. Music has had to take a back seat to a lot of medicine and family responsibilities but I’m still pretty happy with what I’ve been able to do with it nonetheless.

TMG: How does your music influence your role as a family physician?
WB: Music helps me see the intangible part of people’s life experience. Medicine is very objective and scientific. I think they’ve complimented each other. I’ve had patients that have sought out my music and told me it did help to lift and strengthen them. I try to keep some separation though in general. I don’t have a piano keyboard in my exam rooms.

TMG: How do you juggle your roles of father, husband, doctor and musician?
WB: Funny you should ask. I’m petty exhausted right now because of various recent music shows and work, and yet the usual family and doctoring work that is always busy. I end up working on my music late at night after the other work is done and kids are tucked in. It just demands a nap every week or two to try to catch up. Everything has its place and just has to be balanced. I think most of the time I get it pretty close.

TMG: What are the highlights in your career as a musician?
WB: As a performer, singing on stage at the 2002 Winter Olympics was pretty fun. Also singing 15 feet away from one of the 12 world-wide leaders of my church was a pretty special experience. As a songwriter winning a world-wide songwriting contest was a pretty cool surprise. The biggest rush is in having a song come together in a really powerful personal way, getting it recorded with all the musical arrangement that adds so much and then seeing it reach someone else in the same way. It’s another language that people speak on the inside.

TMG: Please talk about your inspiration for Peace On Earth.
WB: “Peace on Earth” is a mini-album that includes new songs recorded recently as well as some from a year or so ago. I try to do a couple new Christmas songs each year since my prior full-length Christmas album. Who wants to hear Wayne Burton sing the same songs year after year, right? I’ve done two Christmas EPs now and eventually will have a full length second Christmas album to release. This one has additional songs that fans of choir music and choir directors can get their hands on. Also it features my first pop Christmas tune Til You’re Here — one that has no direct religious reference but still captures a lot of emotions we can all relate to. These albums are all available at www.wayneburton.com or at iTunes.

TMG: Are you touring in support of your latest EP?
WB: I have a limited number of shows this season — two in Utah, one in Idaho and one in Fort Macleod. I’m hoping people will love the new music. We’ll see.

TMG: Will you be performing alone at the Empress?
WB: I’m glad to have some impressive talent from Fort Macleod joining me. Young River Sillito will be on stage as well as a teen duo of aspiring singers Kirra McGill and Brooklyn D’Eon. They’re going to add a lot to the show.

TMG: What will your show be like in terms of the songs you will perform.
WB: My musical style is everything from orchestral arrangements to upbeat contemporary songs. There will be a bit of everything. I have a recent album Times Like These that is not a Christmas project but I’ll plan to share some of those new songs too. It’s a family night event so expect something for every age.

TMG: What would you tell anyone reading this article about the show you will give at the Empress?
WB: Come on out to the show, I promise you’ll have a good time. I’ve done concerts around Christmas time in southern Alberta for probably five years and this is the first time in Fort Macleod. We’d love to sing for a full house.

TMG: How special is it for you to return to your home town and perform at the historic Empress Theatre?
WB: I’m excited to be coming back. I know I’ll have a hard time getting away when the show’s done because there are going to be a lot of people I want to say hello to. That’s always a fun part of the after-show. The Empress has a lot of history for me and for the region. It’s going to be very cool.

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